A 63-year-old French tourist was robbed and stabbed to death in the early hours of Wednesday morning on Sihanoukville’s popular Ochateal beach, police said Thursday.
Police in Mittapheap district’s Commune 4 discovered the body of Jean-Pierre Blouin lying on the beach at 8 am with a 3-cm-deep stab wound to the left side of his neck, said Lok Lymin, deputy chief of the municipal autopsy police.
Police estimated the time of death to be 4 am, he said, adding that Blouin appeared to have run about 100 meters before collapsing at the spot where he was found. No one has been arrested in the case.
“We don’t know how much of the victim’s belongings were taken but some of the things found near the body were his passport, pen, pipe, bag, hotel keys and shoes,” Lok Lymin said.
Blouin entered Cambodia from Thailand on Sept 8, said Hul Kantha, deputy Mittapheap district police chief.
“This case is very important and we are working hard to investigate the matter,” he said, adding that police suspect local gang members.
“The penal police in Sihanoukville are searching for the killers now,” he said.
At the request of the French Embassy, Blouin’s body was sent on Wednesday afternoon to the morgue at Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital, Lok Lymin said.
“What the embassy can confirm is that an investigation is under way and that this does in fact concern a French national,” said Claude Abily, first secretary at the embassy. She referred further questions to the police.
“It happened in a quiet place along the beach,” said Heng Rang, general manager at the Golden Sand Hotel, where Blouin arrived alone Sept 9.
Blouin was killed in a deserted area at the far end of the beach, he said.
“Why [Blouin] went to that place in the nighttime I don’t understand,” Heng Rang said.
“We don’t want to see this kind of thing happen in Sihanoukville. It will frighten the tourists.”
The French Foreign Ministry travel advisory for Cambodia makes no mention of security problems in Sihanoukville.
But the US State Department consular information sheet says the beaches are a particular danger.
“Individuals should avoid walking alone after dusk anywhere in Sihanoukville, especially along the waterfront,” it warns.
The killing is the latest in a long list of attacks on foreigners in Sihanoukville.
Two British women were savagely beaten and robbed of $80 by gang members on Ochateal in August, Hul Kantha said.
In July, Belgian national Oliver Ansaelens, 31, was hacked to death with a cleaver in a Mittapheap district guesthouse and bar after an apparent disagreement with a security guard over a game of pool.
British national Dick Feakins, 55, required 23 stitches after being stabbed in the head and back with a machete on Ochateal in January.
In December 2004, the body of an unidentified 34-year-old French man was discovered on Ochateal beach with bruises to the head, police said.
Police in August 2004 arrested a 32-year-old Kompong Speu province man for stabbing two Canadian tourists at a Sihanoukville guesthouse. Later that month, two French tourists were robbed on Ochateal.
A Canadian woman was raped by a Military Police officer on a Sihanoukville beach in April 2004.
There have also been several fatal attacks on foreigners in Phnom Penh and Kandal province.
David Mitchell, 36, the British owner of the popular Ginger Monkey bar in Phnom Penh, was stabbed to death in his apartment by an intruder in February.
Two months earlier, Allan Romagnoli, 49, the French owner of the Palm Resort in Kandal province, was found dead at the resort with wounds to the head that had been inflicted with a meat cleaver.